Polish or refinish Les Paul Tribute Honeyburst?

Dutch-Les-Paul

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Hello to all here on the forum,

I recently bought a Gibson Les Paul Tribute Honeyburst. The guitar is great! Super value for money and I really enjoy playing it.

What I am thinking about though... Is polishing or refinishing the satin finish. The maple cap has a nice subtle flame, which could really come out nice in a more gloss finish.

I read good things about Virtuoso Polish and Cleaner. This would keep the current nitro finish in tact, but would only make it glossy. I am wondering though if the little pits in the finish (see third picture) will also be polished smooth. See the pics below. Virtuoso I could apply myself.

Another option is having the finish redone. But that is quite costly (even the top only). And I really like the coloring now and wonder if the top needs to be sanded totally for this refinish which means that it would also have to be painted again.

What do you think? Is my LP a nice candidate for more gloss? And if so: what is the best option in your opinion?

Thanks for your responses!
 

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Pop1655

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I wouldn't do anything for a few months. Give it a chance to grow on you. I happen to think that one is perfect as is.

I had one the seller had done with Virtuoso. It was really nice and it help up well. To get the result I think you have to really do it right. It's a project, not something you knock out in a few minutes out during a string change.
 

Dutch-Les-Paul

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Thx @Pop1655. Maybe you are right and I have to wait it out a while.

I was planning to do a thorough job when I polish it myself. Strip all and use the right tools.

Was the one you had also Honey Burst? I mainly come across Goldtop Tributes that are treated with Virtuoso.
 

DarrellV

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I have a satin finish Classic Player that I gave the virtuoso treatment to (suggested by Pops and a few others).

It did come out shinier, but the open pores in the wood are still there.

I took it to my local luthier a while back for an overspray to gloss it up, and in his opinion he said it didn't need it.

He thought he could get a decent shine with a proper sanding and polishing.

I haven't done it yet.... just the polish.


Before.



During



After... you can see the 'orange peel' in the finish still, but it's shiny.



Today
 
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LocoTex

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I would only polish the top, not the back and sides. The mahogany will get a lot more polish into the grain than the maple top will. And I would start by just carefully buffing the top with a clean, soft buffing pad with no polish.
 

Cjsinla

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I would not sand that one, that finish is very thin. You need a couple of coats of clear nitro if you expect to be able to sand and buff to high gloss. Also, if you wait too long to do anything like polish or clear coats, your existing finish may start to show wear spots. your type of finish is not very durable. You are better off saving up for a guitar with a glossy finish to begin with. Yours will never look right polished up as it’s missing the grain filler and multiple clear coats.
 

Dutch-Les-Paul

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I have a satin finish Classic Player that I gave the virtuoso treatment to (suggested by Pops and a few others).

It did come out shinier, but the open pores in the wood are still there.

I took it to my local luthier a while back for an overspray to gloss it up, and in his opinion he said it didn't need it.

He thought he could get a decent shine with a proper sanding and polishing.

I haven't done it yet.... just the polish.


Before.



During



After... you can see the 'orange peel' in the finish still, but it's shiny.



Today
That guitar looks awesome...
 

Dutch-Les-Paul

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I would only polish the top, not the back and sides. The mahogany will get a lot more polish into the grain than the maple top will. And I would start by just carefully buffing the top with a clean, soft buffing pad with no polish.
Can the buffingpad alone already get the top shining @LocoTex? Great tip, will try that first...
 

Dutch-Les-Paul

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I would not sand that one, that finish is very thin. You need a couple of coats of clear nitro if you expect to be able to sand and buff to high gloss. Also, if you wait too long to do anything like polish or clear coats, your existing finish may start to show wear spots. your type of finish is not very durable. You are better off saving up for a guitar with a glossy finish to begin with. Yours will never look right polished up as it’s missing the grain filler and multiple clear coats.
@Cjsinla ok... I thought the satin Tributes did have grainfiller... Are you sure they do not?
 

Cjsinla

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@Cjsinla ok... I thought the satin Tributes did have grainfiller... Are you sure they do not?
You mentioned tiny pits, that usually means no grain filler. Gibson usually omits the grain filler and clear coats on satin finishes, saves time and money and they pass the savings on to you! That’s why they charge so much for the glossy finishes and bling, lot’s of man-hours to make a regular Les Paul.
 

Cjsinla

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Maple has a much tighter grain than mahogany, you can get away without filler. I assume the tiny pits you mentioned are in the body and neck.
 

Dutch-Les-Paul

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You mentioned tiny pits, that usually means no grain filler. Gibson usually omits the grain filler and clear coats on satin finishes, saves time and money and they pass the savings on to you! That’s why they charge so much for the glossy finishes and bling, lot’s of man-hours to make a regular Les Paul.
[/QUOTE

The pits I reffered to van be seen in the picture below. Might be orange peel?
 

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DarrellV

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Yup, CJ is right tho... I have read where other folks in here have actually worn through the finish through playing or attempting to polish because the finish on those is so thin. It is to save time and money and make a more affordable guitar.

None of which affects the sound of course.

Honestly, it's a big reason I didn't get one when I was looking for a P-90 guitar. I looked at a lot of them, but just couldn't bond with the color and finish. But that's a personal choice for me, not a knock on the guitar of course.

If it bothers you enough, you may consider a trade in towards a shiny one rather than alter this one.

It really only matters what YOU think of it. Many in here would agree that if it doesn't inspire you to play it, you're not going to in the end......
 

CerebralGasket

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Satin finishes can have either filled or unfilled grain.
I have experienced both with SG.





Waxing or polishing a finish with unfilled grain is not always a good idea as the dried wax or polish clogs the pores and can end up leaving spots over time. Maple has tighter grain than Mahogany, so YMMV.
 
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